Navy upgrades tactical systems

The Navy last month awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. two contracts potentially worth more than $473 million to integrate commercial off-the-shelf information technology into the entire inventory of Navy tactical display and computing systems.

In the most recent and lucrative award, Lockheed Martin collected a $281 million win for a follow-on contract to the Navy's AN/UYQ-70 computer system program— a family of tactical display and computer systems found on every Navy ship— and support applications, such as missile command and control, sonar sensors, submarine displays and airborne reconnaissance.

"We're replacing all of our old tactical systems with new systems that are much more capable," said Capt. Michael Crocker, program manager for the Warfare Systems program at the Naval Sea Systems Command. "The beauty of this program is its flexibility and open-systems architecture," Crocker said. "It's all COTS, and it's the future of Navy computing."

In 1994 Lockheed Martin won the original Q-70 pact, which called for increased development and installation of COTS-based systems and components in ruggedized, tactical enclosures to provide a flexible baseline from which the Navy could continuously upgrade its tactical and mission-critical command, control and support systems.

Pat Pierce, Lockheed Martin's program manager for the AN/UYQ-70 recompete contract, said the company views the tactical COTS integration market as potentially being several times as large as the $281 million won last week. "This contract will pick up where the old one left off, and a big part of the job will be developing systems for new users with new requirements," Pierce said.

To date, Lockheed Martin has developed and installed more than 800 systems under the Q-70 contract, according to Harvey Taipale, Lockheed Martin's business development manager. "Our Q-70 systems are out there deployed [with the Navy] and working well," he said. Also, Taipale said commercial components comprise up to 80 percent of the systems developed today.

Glenn Johnson, Lockheed Martin's program manager for Navy-standard products, said there are 36 variants of Q-70 products being used by the Navy, He said significant business opportunities exist in the foreign military sales program and with other services in the U.S. military.

According to Crocker, managers from the Warfare Systems program currently are holding discussions with managers from the Navy's Information Technology for the 21st Century (IT-21) program to better define areas of responsibility between the two programs. "IT-21 is not tactical or mission-critical by nature, and we are," Crocker said. "Right now, we're trying to work out those gray areas," he said.

The AN/UYQ-70 win comes hot on the heels of a $77 million award to Lockheed Martin Ocean, Radar & Sensor Systems for the design and production of two new anti-submarine warfare systems for two of the last Navy destroyers to be outfitted with the new equipment this year. The company received the order through a contract originally awarded in 1996, raising the total value of the contract to $192 million, according to Lockheed Martin officials.

The new anti-submarine systems, known as SQQ-89 Version 15, receive information from hull-mounted and towed sensors and systems aboard helicopters and present an integrated picture of potential submarine threats to commanders aboard ship. The systems also provide control of anti-submarine weapons systems. To date, Lockheed Martin has delivered about 100 SQQ-89 systems to the Navy.

"The new contract...builds upon the work we are already doing and will enable the Navy to realize significant life-cycle cost savings as the [Version] 15 system replaces 1970s technology and implements new, commercial technology into this crucial system," said Mike Smith, president of Lockheed Martin Ocean, Radar & Sensor Systems.

According to Joe Iovanna, Lockheed Martin's manager for surface-ship contracts, the latest version of the system will be an upgraded and enhanced version of the system and will "further 'COTS-ify' the combat system from where it has been in the past."

Older versions of the system were only partially designed using COTS components, Iovanna said. However, "we'll probably never go completely to COTS" because there are mission areas and components where COTS is not adequate, Iovanna said.

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